The Topps Company

Topps Mends My Broken Heart


Here we have my favorite Jose Canseco card of 2015 and it comes from none other than Topps’ flagship, series 2.

Before I begin I have to say that this year’s flagship design is easily my least favorite, ever. Not only is it not a favorite but it’s become overused, as it’s been featured in two series, wall posters, Debut, and even the awful Bunt project. Oh, and Chrome eventually.

However, this card is a flat out winner in my book. From the awesome 90’s throwback design that looks like something Fleer would have made, to the awesome photo and even autographed parallel. It’s a perfect Jose Canseco baseball card.

I’ve grown tired of companies including Jose in their autograph subsets while leaving Jose out of their base set and robbing collectors of cool parallels. This is one of the most eye-catching cards I’ve seen this year and a must-have for me to add to my nearly 25-year old Canseco collection.

Thank you, Topps.

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My Topps Heartbreak

This year has been somewhat boring for me thanks to a so-so year in collecting. While I did love Gypsy Queen and Museum Collection, I’m no fan of the flagship design and there have been several releases that did nothing for me. That was all going to change when my all-time favorite brand, Finest, was due to drop. This was to be followed by Topps Archives, so I was expecting a very good June for this old collector. Unfortunately, both releases came and went and no Jose Canseco card to be seen.

I did find myself drooling over this badass 1986 themed Jose Cruz Jr. during what was his  “prime” years in Toronto. People forget perhaps because of the way he flamed out but little Jose was a phenom with power and speed much like the bigger Jose. While I’m no Cruz collector, his ’97 Bowman, Bowman Chrome, and Bowman’s Best releases all hold a very special place in my collecting heart.

This card just may find a home in my collection some day.


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Topps Tier One (Or How Tanman Ruined Collecting for Me … for Good)

No, I’m not here to bash the hobby or Tanman’s amazing work with custom cards. Simply put, Tanman’s custom Canseco cards have shown me that one man can make better cards than Panini, Topps, and Leaf’s efforts and it’s changed me as a collector. Long gone are the days when I chased every single Jose Canseco card. The parallel madness that took over a decade and a half ago made that impossible for those with mortgages, car payments, kids, what have you. Today I collect mostly what appeals to me, well, I did … until I saw the amazing cards Tanman was producing. New innovations, styles, and creativity from one man was putting the big manufacturers to shame. Now, I only want the best of the best (or about 20% of what’s being released) all because Tanman opened my eyes. The days of inferior custom cards have come and gone and if one man has done this alone, just imagine what possibilities are just around the corner. The days of “Broder” cards and other customs are finished and with guys like Tanman around, card companies should beware and be very scared.

That brings us to 2015 Topps Tier and the only Canseco card that’s surfaced so far. It’s a beautiful, on-card autograph and the brand itself is classy and fun (review and giveaway coming soon) but do I need this card? Not really. I’ve seen way too many Topps horizontal cards this year and this one is not much different than the rest. It’s way better than the 2015 Prizm Jose card but nothing special in my eyes. Also, unless Jose dies suddenly, the value of his autograph will continue to decrease due to the massive amount of autographs being produced. I wouldn’t even mind a few relic and base cards at this point. Anything to switch up the pace for goodness sake.

Not that he needs my help but if you haven’t visited Tanman’s site to see his customs or read his fascinating posts, do yourself a favor and spend the rest of your day there. It’s forever changed my view of our hobby and my 25-year chase for the perfect Jose Canseco collection. Something tells me this man is going to make a huge splash in this hobby in the coming months and years to come. I for one can’t wait to see what he has in store.

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2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Review

*All the good cards from this review (parallels, relics, autos, and the 1 of 1) will be given away to one lucky collector. This week’s question is: Which Topps product would you like to see put out to pasture and which would you like to see resurrected? Leave a comment with your name and Twitter handle or email so I can contact you immediately if you win. Best comment wins it all. We are looking for sincere responses, Topps is reading, so let them know exactly how you feel.*

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Here we go. This is what collecting is all about (to me). Since my return to writing for Wax Heaven, I’ve reviewed 2014 Finest, 2014 Tek, 2015 Museum Collection, and now, Gypsy Queen. With this product, I have for the first time considered bustin’ wax again. To me, this is the best Topps has had to offer this year, although I missed out on Tribute and only busted a few packs of Heritage.

Museum Collection was absolutely beautiful but at 20 cards for the high price range, didn’t offer me enough of what I needed and look for from a box break. Simply put, I’m not a gambler and enjoy base cards, great photography, parallels, and the like and walking away with 250 cards that don’t feel flimsy or look cheap is a wonderful change of pace.

For the record, I’ve busted about 100 products delivered directly from Topps, Upper Deck, Panini America, Tristar, and Leaf and this is the first time I have ever pulled a “one of one”. On my own, I’ve pulled several printing plates (never a Super, though). Believe it or not, the printing plate in this box is not going to affect the outcome of my review because I was already in love with Gypsy Queen from the start.

Lastly, out of the entire box, which yielded 250 cards … I didn’t pull a single Jose Canseco. Not a base card, not a parallel, not a mini, or even an autograph. This is a travesty and for that alone, Gypsy Queen should get a big, fat “F”. Shame on you, Topps.

I kid, I kid …

Design: A+

I thought Museum Collection had a perfect design but as far as it goes, Gypsy Queen is the best looking Topps product I’ve seen all year. Whatever image filters Topps is using for these photographs, they are working magic. I loved every single card I pulled, even no-name guys I’ve never even heard of. I can’t say the same for any other Topps baseball product this year or ever.

This is the most fun I’ve had with any baseball release ever, that didn’t feature Chrome and Refractors. In fact, Allen & Ginter pales in comparison to Gypsy Queen, in my humble opinion, and I could easily see myself buying a box or two of this product, which I can’t say about Museum Collection or any non-Chrome release. This is the box I would buy a former collector just to bring him back to the hobby.

Price: A-

Cardboard Connection’s Best Price finder has boxes of Gypsy Queen at just under $100. For 250 cards, 4 hits, and a handful of serial numbered cards, that’s not bad at all. In fact, I’d say it’s almost perfect. However, right now you’re going to have to work to find that price and hobby shops and card shows won’t come close to that at the moment. If these drop to $80-$85 range, jump on it!

Inserts/Hits/Parallels: A+

Would I call this a “loaded” box? No, not really. Perhaps if you compare it to any of my other Topps reviews. It’s still a mighty nice box and would rank right up there thanks to the printing plate and the Mike Stanton autographed relic. To me, the El Duque black mini is the hit of the box and is nothing short of B-A-D-A-S-S. Keep in mind, that’s coming from a Yankees hater.

Steven Souza Jr. Cyan printing plate
Yordano Venture framed mini relic
Shelby Miller relic
Giancarlo Stanton Autographed relic
Matt Joyce autograph
Orlando Hernandez black mini #’d 4/5

Overall: A-

I hate to sound like a “shill” but this is Topps Company at its very best. I can’t imagine a better baseball product and while the upcoming 2015 Diamond Kings may ruffle a few feathers at Topps headquarters, with the MLB license and the card design team they have in place, I don’t see an end to the baseball monopoly any time soon.

Is Topps Company perfect, as it relates to baseball? Not even close. There are still way too many products per year, not enough return on investment, and way too many parallels to chase but as far as 2015 Gypsy Queen is concerned, this is a product that’s as close to perfect as we will get in 2015, even without me pulling a Jose Canseco card.

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Is This the Last Baseball Card I Buy in 2015?


This is a 2014 Topps Tier 1, on-card autograph numbered 087/299. Interestingly enough, the photo used on the card appears to be from the 1987 season meaning that my card is now a 1/1! Okay, I take that back. There’s no such thing as an eBay 1/1. It’s all BS.

Anyway, this card was won on eBay three weeks ago but wasn’t paid off until early last week and finally arrived today. As far as Topps cards go, it’s one of my least favorite as the design lacks a lot of pizazz and the thickness of the card, serial numbering, and on-card auto just doesn’t do much for me. However, for less than $15, it’s hard to pass up.

Last week my income tax check was deposited into my bank account. It was bigger than any I’ve ever received. I was driving around in a absolutely trashed 2001 Camaro for two years and with all that cash in my hand I had an option of picking up the iconic Jose Canseco Donruss Crusade (and many more goodies) or treat myself to something much more important, a new car.

In the end, I chose to put my collection on hold and got myself a brand new Chevy Camaro SS. Jose Canseco would be proud. So for now, this card joins my collection and is officially my 1,112th different card and unless I pull any base cards in upcoming Topps products, it may very well be the last one of the year. As much as I love collecting … I think I’d be okay with that. At least I’ll always have Wax Heaven.

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